When developments include public open spaces, they contribute to a lively urban environment. These spaces are often:
- Public lobbies.
The public open space review considers a proposed development’s benefit to the public. It assesses the site’s design, amenities, and pedestrian access. If a project qualifies, it may get a development bonus such as a floor area or height bonus.
You can request a conceptual public open space review in the planning stages of your project. If you decide to claim a bonus as part of your zoning permit application, your project will undergo another public open space review when you apply for a building permit. This will confirm its eligibility.
When you apply for a building permit, the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) will tell you if your project needs a public space review.
Where and when
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) office is located at:
1515 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is no charge for a conceptual public open space review. When you apply for a building permit, the cost of a public open space review is included in its fee.
For a public open space review, you must schedule an appointment with PCPC staff. You can contact them at (215) 683-4615.
At your appointment, you’ll need to present plans and other materials that illustrate your proposed public open space. The major components include:
- A site plan detailing all the components of the public open space. This may include grading, landscaping, water features, lighting, and other features.
- A detailed description of materials, including lists of plant species and prefabricated components. These components may include seating, tables, trash receptacles, light fixtures, and more.
- A plan that shows compliance with Complete Streets Handbook Checklist and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- A plan that shows the ratio between public open space to site area. It should also show the square footage amount of contiguous public space.
- Sectional drawings showing compliance with ground level changes and daylight requirements.
- Your building permit application.
Refer to the PCPC regulations for complete submission requirements. To qualify for a development bonus, the applicant must demonstrate a long term commitment to the public open space and a restrictive covenant must be recorded.